You can't win your league on draft day, but you can lose it.
So the old adage goes.
Thus, while I feel confident about the team I assembled in an AL-only auction Tuesday, I know I will have to stay on top of FAAB every week and make the correct lineup decisions throughout the year to have a chance at winning. The competition in this league is stiff to say the least, with the likes of Al Melchoir and Scott White from CBSSports.com, Todd Zola and Ryan Carey from Mastersball, Keith Cromer from Baseball Prospectus and RotoWire colleagues Paul Sporer and Andrew Fiorentino all included, among others.
This is a 12-team league (again, AL-only) with 23 active roster spots, including two catchers, a corner, a middle, five outfielders and a utility, as well as the traditional 5x5 rotisserie scoring categories. The budget for the auction was $260 per team, with that money used to fill just the active roster spots. A reserve draft was held immediately following the auction.
Without further ado, here's the team I put together.
C: Yan Gomes, CLE ($21)
C: Brian McCann, NYY ($17)
1B: Jose Abreu, CWS ($38) (note: my No. 4 overall player, No. 2 in AL. Check out my initial overall top-350 here.)
2B: Omar Infante, KC ($7)
3B: Adrian Beltre, TEX ($28)
SS: Jed Lowrie, HOU ($9)
MI: J.J. Hardy, BAL ($8)
CI: Justin Smoak, TOR ($5)
OF: Rusney Castillo, BOS ($26)
OF: Carlos Beltran, NYY ($14)
OF: Jarrod Dyson, KC ($7)
OF: Craig Gentry, OAK ($1)
OF: Byron Buxton, MIN ($1)
UT: Mike Moustakas, KC ($7)
P: Marcus Stroman, TOR ($18)
P: Chris Archer, TB ($16)
P: Michael Pineda, NYY ($16)
P: Danny Duffy, KC ($12)
P: Andrew Miller, NYY ($5)
P: Joe Smith, LAA ($1)
P: Marco Estrada, TOR ($1)
P: Henry Owens, BOS ($1)
P: Darren O'Day, BAL ($1)
Reserves: Ryan Ludwick (TEX), Kelvin Herrera (KC), R.J. Alvarez (OAK), Jonathan Villar (HOU), Jorge Alfaro (TEX), Dayan Viciedo (FA) and Burch Smith (TB).
My best buy: Andrew Miller ($5) - Miller returned $8 in value in this format last season, according to the RotoWire Inseason Values tool, and I think there's a real possibility the Yankees could use a tandem closer system this year with Miller and Dellin Betances. Even if not, I think Miller's expected contributions in the ratio categories alone should warrant a higher price. He was the only (potential) closer I got in the auction, but if I can hit on one or two guys in FAAB, it could put me over the top.
My worst buy: Justin Smoak ($5) - This was one where I stuck too closely to the projected auction value in the RotoWire Draft Kit app. Smoak is projected there at $5.31 (with these league settings), so I thought it was a fair price, but I could have probably have had a couple better values in the endgame had I just waited. I may have overpaid for Rusney Castillo and Marcus Stroman, but I'm high on both guys and thought their prices were entirely fair. My budget management during the second half of the auction was also suspect. At the intermission, I had the most money left to spend, but I went on a spree shortly thereafter and was then forced to settle for guys like Gentry and Estrada late.
I will spare you the specifics of each team's roster, but here are some strong bargains from around the league, with the price paid listed first in parentheses and the RotoWire recommended price second:
Matt Wieters, BAL ($11, $19.13)
Joe Mauer, MIN ($11, $13.78)
Ervin Santana, MIN ($8, $10.17)
Dalton Pompey, TOR ($5, $10.03)
James Loney, TB ($4, $11.81)
Wade Davis, KC ($3, $10.52)
Lonnie Chisenhall, CLE ($3, $13.53)
Jesse Hahn, OAK ($3, $7.02)
Brad Boxberger, TB ($2, $10.90)
T.J. House, CLE ($2, $3.42)
Josmil Pinto, MIN ($2, $7.28)
Jordan Schafer, MIN ($1, $0.71)
Rene Rivera, TB ($1, $1.60)
Granted, a lot of these good deals came toward the end of the auction, with many owners low on money, but the profit potential with these players, namely Wieters, Chisenhall, Loney and Davis, is significant. I was surprised House and Schafer went for so cheap. I get that neither has a set role at this point, but the upside with House can't be denied and Schafer could finish around the top 5 in stolen bases (in the AL) if he wins the center field job.
Chris Davis, BAL ($30, $23.57)
Evan Gattis, HOU ($28, $19.48)
Elvis Andrus, TEX ($27, $17.22)
Adam LaRoche, CWS ($25, $19.51)
Cody Allen, CLE ($24, $15.41)
Sonny Gray, OAK ($24, $18.20)
David Robertson, CWS ($22, $16.88)
Oswaldo Arcia, MIN ($21, $16.17)
Drew Smyly, TB ($19, $14.19)
Marcus Semien, OAK ($18, $0)
Brett Lawrie, OAK ($18, $11.75)
No disrespect to those who paid these prices, but I think there was perhaps some overreacting to position scarcity. For example, Robertson and Allen both went for more than Greg Holland ($21). Meanwhile, Semien and Lowrie both went for one dollar less than Alcides Escobar ($19), and for more than the likes of Rougned Odor ($17) and Xander Bogaerts ($17). Also, I think some may have overpaid for big-name power sources (Davis and LaRoche), when those owners could have had a Chris Carter ($18) or Steve Pearce ($13) at a much fairer price.